About Soccer Elite - Our Background

 

Soccer Elite helps Managers and individual players improve their technique & performance through FA Qualified Coaching for 6-18 year old boys and girls in a quality & fun environment. 

 

Soccer Elite is a specialist football coaching resource that has been running on Saturday mornings in different forms on and off for nearly 12 years. Originally formed in the summer of 2000, when founder and Coach Mark Brier had the idea of bridging the gap between junior clubs and professional clubs after coaching at Halifax Town for three years in the late nineties. At that time he formed the Vision Coaching Academy with Bradford-based coach Tibor Szabo, playing matches against pro club juniors and providing a resource to help any talented junior players wanting to improve their game but also providing fair and open assessment for parents before their youngsters went for trials at pro clubs. This also included specialist Goalkeeper Coaching from Graeme Kennedy. The concept proved successful with a few players being brought through into the professional and semi-professional game. In 2003 Vision had grown significantly but Mark decided that he wanted to specialise in coaching smaller groups, rather than going for a "numbers game" and he decided to form Soccer Elite, with Graeme Kennedy still providing the keeper coaching.

In the early days of Soccer Elite, it provided Coerver Skills Coaching as part of the curriculum and the principles of this today remain a part of the current coaching process. However Mark wanted the complete autonomy to coach all aspects of the game and not just ball skills to players, having had success coaching squads all over West Yorkshire by coaching areas of weakness, working alongside local Junior Managers, to improve their teams but also specifically putting on sessions to work with them in these weak areas analysed through watching games and assessing squad attributes.

Graeme Kennedy had been working closely with Mark in Soccer elite but had been working more and more with Bradford City and in 2007 decided to leave Soccer Elite and work full time as City's Centre of Excellence keeper coach, working with all the keepers, including the first team lads. Graeme is still in that position today but still comes along occasionally to visit. Danny Box, who had been coached by Graeme from the age of 13 had been assisting Graeme and, along with some help from Simon Holbert, another protégé of Graeme’s, took over the responsibility for keeper coaching. This still was providing a specialist resource not available throughout Yorkshire.

In 2007, ex West Brom apprentice and Torquay Utd defender Darren Attwood, after attending several Soccer Elite sessions as a parent, was invited to become involved as a coach and also ex Halifax Town Youth Team Coach, Simon Wood, was invited to join the coaching team, after working successfully both at Liversedge and latterly Brighouse Town Under 19s, where he won the Northern U19 Academy league and cup double in his first season and retained the league title in his second.

After a successful spell as Manager and Assistant at Brighouse Town - where Mark and Darren were asked to guide the club into Semi-Professional football and also won promotion in just their second season at that level – Mark decided to take a break from football so he put management and coaching, including Soccer Elite, on ice for a few seasons. However, in July 2012, the Saturday morning sessions were started once again, with Mark, Darren and Simon delivering sessions, supported by invited specialist guest coaches, including Ash Townsend and Dave Phelps who both provide resources for specialist topics in the curriculum, including diet and nutrition, fitness, agility, athletic development and power training. All this means the Soccer Elite team provide a first class coaching, as well as a safe and most importantly FUN environment for players to take part in our national sport. 

Mark has always tried to differentiate and cater for all requirements. One of the areas of junior football that often gets overlooked is goalkeeping. Soccer Elite has always provided this service too and these days, the coaching team shares its facilities on a Saturday morning with Paul Brown Goalkeeping. Paul is a well-established keeper coach and worked with Mark, Darren and Simon at Brighouse Town FC. Paul, and his coaches Luke Hirst and Joe Stead provide a quality keeper coaching service and like Soccer Elite, Paul has seen progress with his own service, including the provision of a range of his own Goalkeeping Gloves.

Mark is now full time working as a coach, providing sessions for junior clubs, schools and various organisations, including both the FA as one of 300 national Coach Mentors and the West Riding County FA as Lead Coach for the Girls Join Our Club scheme, their Girls u15s PDC coach and also Lead Coach for the County FA's Junior Boys FA Disability Talent ID Programme.  Mark is thoroughly enjoying his decision to leave the “Rat Race” and do what he has a passion for! Soccer Elite continues to grow both on Saturdays and with a hugely popular Squad Coaching service the Soccer Elite brand will shortly be developing further still, with School Holiday Fun Days and specialist sessions for all people wanting to get involved in football, including a new venture into Corporate Team Building. Things are moving fast, including Mark's appointment as Lead Coach for the newly formed EXPro Academy in West Yorkshire, working with ex Leeds Utd, Bristol Rovers, Stockport County and Halifax Town's Neil Ross.  ExPro runs as an Academy with a difference, ensuring players get the chance to get into Pro football but also have a career to fall back on if things don't turn out as hoped!